Friday, November 10, 2006

My Design Wall


Today our friend John B. helped me put up my new design wall. For art quilters a design wall is a must. It is a wall space to temporarily attach fabrics in order to try out new designs in progress. Laying things out flat on a table gives you one perspective, but looking at a design as it would hang on a wall, from near and far, gives you the various viewpoints needed to create a successful piece.

Quilters have fashioned design walls from a variety of materials, such as cork or insulation or foam board, or some just hang a plastic tablecloth with the felt backing facing out. The main requirement is the ability to insert pins easily and without damaging the surface area. Cork was too expensive, insulation impossible to find and a felt-backed tablecloth was too flimsy.

The fabric store here had what I needed. I found two half-inch thick pieces of foam that I could glue to the wall. I could place white felt over the foam to keep the pins from disintegrating the foam. My friend John W. from NJ sent me 6 yards of white felt to cover the whole expanse of foam, and John B. advised me to buy and paint 4 pieces of molding with which to frame it all.

It took about a month to gather all the materials and today in a couple of hours, we glued the foam to the wall and spread the white felt over the foam. John B. nailed the molding around it and (as they say in Australia) Bob's your uncle!

So now I have a wonderfully expansive design wall that's 9 feet wide by about 5 feet high. I can now work on more than one project at a time, leaving one piece up on the design wall while I work on something else, as inspiration dictates.

To say that I'm giddy today is an understatement. I can just about cartwheel my way down the street for the excitement I feel at having this wonderful tool now at my disposal. Thank you, John B., for your time and work and your willingness to help me out. Thank you, John W., for going the extra mile for me whenever I need you and always being there for me.

One last thought: quilting is considered a woman's activity (although I've seen the work of a few darn good male quilters), but I'm certain that behind every great quilter there's a male support group that steps up to the plate when needed and is instrumental in helping make wonderful things happen.

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